by Dan Wright


The great majority of investigations concerning UFO reports by the citizenry require the completion of a basic sighting document. MUFON's Form 1, for general cases, is ideally suited to the purposes. This two-page form constitutes the backbone of the entire case report, a signed personal record of the event, without which the specifics would be difficult to compile.

Whenever possible, the Form 1 should be completed by the field investigator in the presence of the UFO witness as part of a standard interview. On occasion, geographic distance may require that the form be mailed for completion and return. However, as the discussion to follow will show, thoroughly and accurately completing the general cases form necessitates considerable knowledge of both the form itself and the UFO subject. In those instances, therefore, separate and lengthy communications may well be avoidable.

As a further preliminary point, at certain junctures on the Form 1, the only honest response by the witness to a given sighting factor may be unknown. Rather than guessing or making no entry, an "UNK" offers the best response in terms of later analysis of the case report.


On the left-hand side of the first page are three boxes for essential information as to the date, time, and place of the sighting.

In the first box, note that the calendar day is shown first, followed by the month, then the year. This is the military method of designating a date. For those without a military background, this requires care in order to correctly state, for example, that 8-2-91 means February 8, not August 2, of that year.

In the box headed SIGHTING TIME, enter the time the event began. Be as precise as possible--the exact minute if the witness is certain, or otherwise the closest approximation. The time is always expressed as local for that place. Regarding the time zone, be sure to indicate whether, for that date, the area was on standard or daylight savings time. As an example, eastern standard time would be expressed as "EST," while eastern daylight time would be "EDT."

In the same box, the duration of the event must be included. This is the total amount of sighting time, beginning when the witness first noticed the light or object until it was lost from view. If the source was viewed intermittently with short periods between observations, count the entire period from first to last as the duration. On the other hand, if the same object was seen repeatedly but with long gaps, say, close to an hour or more, there may be reason to consider these as separate events--with a separate Form 1 for each. Judgment must be used and, regardless, an explanation of the circumstance should be in the investigator's written summary.

The box titled PLACE OF SIGHTING is straightforward. First, enter the state or Canadian province, the county (or parish), the town or city--or nearest one if the incident transpired in a rural area--and finally the country. Note: Some sightings occur over many miles while the witness is driving. In that situation, enter the place nearest to where the event began.

Here's a reproduction (for informational purposes only, for the moment) of Form 1.